Rep. Bunting’s Springfield news update for May 10

In this issue:

  • Budget process enters final weeks
  • Talking local roads with IDOT
  • Rivian announces McLean County expansion
  • Welcoming St. John’s students

Budget process enters final weeks

The process of putting together a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year is entering its final weeks, as the House and Senate are scheduled to adjourn for the summer on May 24, just two weeks from today. The new fiscal year will begin on July 1.

In order to put together a balanced budget, we first need to know how much revenue the state will have to work with in the upcoming fiscal year. Every month we get a report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability which tells us what the latest revenue numbers are and what the trends indicate for the future.

This latest report is similar to other recent reports in that it has some troubling indications. At the federal level, higher interest rates have been put in place to fight stubborn inflation. These higher rates have slowed down the economy by making it harder for Americans to buy homes, automobiles and certain consumer goods.

The slowdown is certainly being felt in Illinois, where corporate income tax revenue fell by 19.7%, down by a total of $679 million so far this fiscal year. Up until now, the state has been able to make up for the lost corporate tax revenue with funds collected from individual income taxes – those were up again last month. But if the economy continues to slow, these revenues could be in jeopardy and could pose long term problems for the upcoming fiscal year.

That is why it is more important than ever that we balance the budget and avoid the temptation to add more spending when we may not have the revenue to support it.

Talking local roads with IDOT

On Thursday I sat down with Omer Osman, the Director of the Illinois Department of Transportation to discuss state highways in our district. Our local communities rely on our road network to get products to market, kids to school and just about everything else we do in our daily lives. Lately I have heard from a number of residents of the 106th District who had contacted me about the state of our local highways, and I brought these thoughts to the attention of the director.

I voiced a number of the comments I have heard from the district and overall we had a good and productive discussion. The director brought me up to speed on some of the IDOT projects that are underway and some others which are planned for the future. As we begin to see more orange barrels and road cones on our roadsides, remember that they will mean better and safer roads. And please also remember to slow down and keep the workers safe.

Rivian announces McLean County expansion

Rivian has announced its decision to expand production of its R2 electric vehicle design at its plant in McLean County.

The announcement includes a $1.5 billion investment in the Rivian assembly lines in McLean County to build the R2, a sport-utility vehicle. Production of vehicles is set to begin in 2026, and puts to rest speculation that production of the R2 would go to a facility in Georgia.

Rivian has benefitted from a 30-year incentive package valued at $827 million from the state, three-fourths of which will come through Illinois’ REV-IL electric vehicle tax incentive program. There are additional incentives from state and local government to expand an existing apprenticeship-oriented training program for high school and college students.

The company expects the expansion to bring it to a capacity of 215,000 units per year and create more than 500 new jobs.

The president of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council provided some further details Tuesday on the incentives and about the requirement on the company to create the promised jobs.

Welcoming St. John’s students

One of my favorite parts of representing the folks of the 106th District is welcoming constituents to Springfield.

Tuesday it was a true honor to be visited at the Capitol by students from St. John’s Lutheran School in Buckley. The students were 7th and 8th graders along with their teacher, Kara Teske, and their chaperone, Shane Stachura. They came to Springfield to tour some of the finest spots the city has to offer, and to learn about the rich history which leaders before us brought to this democracy.

I love their interest in the process of good government, and all that it has to offer.

Our current bill backlog

When a vendor provides the state with goods and services, they submit the bill to the Illinois Comptroller for payment. The Comptroller processes the paperwork and pays the bill when funds are available in the state’s checking account. Currently the total amount of unpaid bills is $1,278,279,252. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $1.4 billion in bills awaiting payment. This only includes bills submitted to the Comptroller for payment, not unfunded debts like the state’s pension liability, which is well over $100 billion.

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